Marathon RED is an oddity. Unlike virtually all of the other large scenarios, it's the work of a single person, Ian McConville lately known more for the webcomic Mac Hall. Named after the author's favorite color, it eschews the bright, high-tech installations and technicolor alien spaceships of most scenarios in favor of textures that range somewhere between "bleak", "muted", and simply "dull", with many places where the only colors on the screen are shades of grey and red. The mapmaking combines some daring new ideas and clever tricks with mistakes and omissions that will leave you cursing in frustration. The monsters are really something; they're creepy, fast, vicious, available in a huge variety (including some "unique" monsters that appear only once or twice in the game), and FAST. Some of them are as fast as you are, and some are even faster. It's hard- incredibly, brutally hard, one of the hardest first-person shooters I've ever played, and while some (like me) may respect an attempt to move away from the slow, dumb, cannon fodder and fairly standard weapon loadouts of the original games and other scenarios some may (rightly) declare the game is simply unbalanced and poorly designed and walk away. RED's storyline is a real horror that can be quite disturbing at times and includes some memorable twists (especially one near the end that we'll get to in good time ;) ), but it plays fast and loose with its presentation, sometimes to the atmosphere's detriment, and has a streak of bizarre humor that can surface at inappropriate times.
As above, RED's difficulty is one of its major flaws and one that turns off a lot of people to it before they get very far in. The author took it upon himself to shift all the difficulty settings down by a notch to indicate this- Kindergarden was deleted, and the new level above TC is "Death Wish". Since I'm such a fan of this scenario, and insane, I'm going to attempt to play through on Death Wish (although I still don't want to spend vast amounts of time on Volunteering, so I may give up and switch down later). Since there is no spoiler guide for RED available, I'll try to provide a walkthrough for each level, which should be easier than before since I now have 2 computers to work with. Although RED has a large number of separate maps, many of them are short "story" levels and many others form parts of large multi-level set pieces, so the scenario is shorter than it looks at first.